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Jan 23, 2024, 3:58pm EST
politics

More Democrats criticize Netanyahu for rejecting Palestinian state

REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo
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The Scoop

A group of House Democrats wrote to President Biden Tuesday criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s public remarks rejecting the creation of a Palestinian state and calling on the Biden administration to lay out a strategy for a two-state solution.

A two-state solution, the lawmakers wrote, is “the only viable path for a sustainable peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people.” The letter was led by Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill. and Jim Himes, D-Conn. and signed by more than three dozen other House Democrats (including most Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee). It was shared with Semafor before its release.

“We are deeply concerned by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s public rejection of a two-state solution on January 18, and respectfully request that your Administration outline a strategy to marshal international and ultimately, Israeli and Palestinian support to successfully implement a two-state solution,” the lawmakers wrote.

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Know More

The letter is the latest evidence of Democratic angst over Netanyahu’s public rejection of an independent Palestinian state after the fighting in Gaza ends, comments that are at odds with official U.S. policy. It comes amid related tensions between Democrats and the Israeli government over Netanyahu’s far-right coalition partners, who have gone even further and talked about permanently displacing Palestinians from Gaza and even resettling Israelis in the territory.

Despite Netanyahu’s remarks, Biden said Friday that he still believed a two-state solution was possible with Netanyahu in power following a call with the prime minister. “He’s optimistic that we can get there,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters Monday. “Obviously, any two-state solution is going to require some compromises.” He said that there could be “many different interpretations” of what a two-state solution looks like.

In their letter, the Democratic lawmakers acknowledged that a resolution would need to come after Hamas releases dozens of hostages it is holding and the perpetrators of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel are held accountable. The lawmakers asked the White House for “an update on U.S. diplomatic, economic, and security measures involved in your Administration’s strategy to address these significant barriers.”

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Notable

  • Israel is starting to gradually scale back the offensive in Gaza but Israeli officials say the gains made against Hamas are threatened by the lack of a plan for a post-war Gaza, the Washington Post reported.
  • The U.S. is pushing a peace proposal that would establish a path for an independent Palestinian state in exchange for Saudi Arabia normalizing relations with Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The path forward for the U.S. Congress to approve more Israel aid grew more complicated with Netanyahu’s remarks and the prospect of a border security agreement not succeeding.
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